by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA
Now that Labor Day is right around the corner you might be planning to spend that weekend relaxing at some oh-so-swanky resort in the Hamptons or that cute mountain hideaway in the Poconos. But have you ever really thought about why we celebrate Labor Day? That is, besides the fact we are in dire need of more three-day weekends. I didn’t think so!
So you know, Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It celebrates the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. That means Labor Day is about celebrating you! And this is a perfect time to make sure your company and country are paying their dues to you.
Check your Social Security benefit estimate I am sure you think the government is never at fault. But let me tell you, the Social Security Administration does make mistakes. Make sure they have recorded your correct salary as well as the amount of time you have been working. Otherwise, you could have a nasty surprise when you need to collect disability or retirement from the government.
You can get a copy of your Social Security benefits estimate at http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/estimator.htm
Check your work benefits You know you put in too many long hours to be short-changed. Sadly, many American workers are. Due to tough economic times, many employers are slashing health, disability, life and health insurance provided through their company. Make sure you know your coverage. When a catastrophe strikes the worker is left unprotected and the employer does not have to do anything. You can call your HR department for the latest employee benefits handbook. Have a CFP™ look it over to make sure you are adequately covered.
Make sure you are investing in your company’s retirement plan You company’s retirement plan might be one of the hottest investments around. Many companies give generous matches to every dollar you put into your 401(k) or 403(b) up to a certain limit. It is better than winning the lottery!
Just think about it: If you make $100,000 per year and your company contributes up to 5% of your salary, that means an extra $5,000 in your retirement fund. There are two catches though. 1) You also have to contribute to the fund to get your companies corresponding match. 2) If you leave for greener pastures you could lose some or all of that money. However, your contributions are yours forever!